Advantage SA as series reaches the wire

Faf du Plessis celebrating his match-saving century against Australia

Faf du Plessis, with his epic match-saving hundred at Adelaide, has given SA the advantage heading into the third Test starting in Perth on Friday. While the Proteas have been outplayed in the last two Tests, Australia were the ones who spent more energy in ultimately a drawn cause in South Australia.

The third Test allows the Proteas to raise their game to the levels we know as South African fans it can reach. Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn have under-performed with the ball somewhat, while Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt have had troubles of their own. Imran Tahir, following his disastrous display in Adelaide, faces the chop. With Robin Petersen in the wings, perhaps its time to jettison Tahir because the attacking option he was meant to provide has been completely expunged by the Australians at the cost of many, many runs.

Some might say it will ruin his confidence, but following the most expensive Test figures ever without taking a wicket (0-260), I doubt there is much chance of it getting worse when it has already hit rock bottom.

On the batting front, Jacques Rudolph should be dropped considering how poorly he has done on this tour, especially in times when much was demanded of him. If Jacques Kallis is able to play as a batsman, Rudolph could be jettisoned either for Dean Elgar, Ryan McLaren or Thami Tsolikele, depending on what balance the Proteas seek.

Australia will most likely bring in Shane Watson, strengthening their top order which has almost been reliant on skipper Michael Clarke scoring runs down the order. If South Africa can dismiss him and Michael Hussey early, a win at Perth is very much within their grasp.

The South Africans know they have been under par thus far, but after surviving a Test match that should have been lost, they should take that momentum with them into the third and final Test.

The title of best Test team is at stake.


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